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November 06, 2011

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rwendland

The Telegraph ran a story at the week-end about the final assets of Atlantic Bridge. Apparently Michael Hintze (who donated the money to Atlantic Bridge) is threatening Werritty with legal action for the return of the assets (or his donation)!

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/conservative/8885995/Liam-Foxs-adviser-Adam-Werritty-facing-questions-over-missing-60000..html

rwendland

Thanks for raising this with the CC.

Though inadequate in my opinion, they are quite likely to say only Charities with gross income over £25,000 in an accounting year must file their trustee report with the CC for publication that year, and as Atlantic Bridge did not have such an income in years after 3 Feb 2010, there is no need to publish.

To me this is a glaring loophole. While having a de-minimis threshold for tiny charities is reasonable (though still open to significant abuse at the £25k/year level), I think once a charity goes over the threshold and starts accounting as a non-tiny charity they should continue to have to publish accounts via the CC until assets gained with tax advantages have fallen below some threshold (perhaps £10k).

With the current system a devious charity could acquire funds in one financial year, and publish accounts, then spend in the next year without collecting, so not publishing accounts. By repeating this cycle, they would never have to publish how they spend potentially large funds acquired with charitable tax treatment. (The charity would also have to be a non-Limited company, like Atlantic Bridge which seems to be an unincorporated association, to also avoid reporting via Companies House.)

Paul Flynn

Cannot help with this rwendland. But the scandal is far from over. I will raise these points with the Charity Commission.

rwendland

Well done on chasing this Paul.

What I would like to know is what happened to the £36,768 Atlantic Bridge had in its accounts on 3 Feb 2010 as Net Current Assets. And why a closing down charity is not required to publish public final accounts on the Charity Commission website, as it did while operational. (And why the Charity Commission immediately hides the already published accounts online when a charity shuts down.)

Actually, there is one year and 8 months length of accounts missing since the last published accounts (4 Feb 2010 to 30 September 2011). As its assets were gained with the advantages of charitable tax treatment, it would be wrong if those assets were not given to a genuine charity. But the public, and possibly the Charity Commission, has no way of checking this.

Alex

where are the hellhounds of the free press?

should that be "free" press?

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